No, the New Benghazi Emails Don’t Demonstrate a White House Cover-Up

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Wait a second. Is a National Review editor allowed to say this about Benghazi?

On the totality of the evidence we have so far, the White House took the intelligence community and diplomatic community’s estimate, which was relatively uncertain, bereft of much detail, and turned out days later to be quite wrong, and played up certain parts of it to avoid questions about their counterterror strategy and the situation in Libya. That isn’t being as straightforward with the American public as they could or probably should have been; it’s also not a lie or a cover-up.

This is a response to Charles Krauthammer’s bombastic insistence yesterday that newly released Benghazi emails had revealed “a classic cover-up of a cover-up.” But as Patrick Brennan says, they show no such thing.

You know, if conservatives had stuck to a reasonable line like this one in the first place, they could have caused President Obama a lot more damage. Did the White House “play up certain parts” of the Benghazi story in order to “avoid questions about their counterterror strategy”? I’d quibble over some of the details here, but that’s fair enough. And there are certainly legitimate questions—although they cut a bipartisan swath—about how security was handled in Libya before the attacks.

Stick to that stuff and you have a story that resonates—and not in a good way for Obama. Take the Krauthammer route, and you get cheers from the Fox News faithful but not much else. That’s why no one but a hard core of loons and fanatics cares about Benghazi anymore.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest